According to many football pundits and fans around the world, the 2014 FIFA World Cup semifinal match pitting hosts Brazil and European powerhouse Germany was the defining match of this year’s showpiece. Brazil started in typical blistery fashion but Germany held their lines, used their men and the ball efficiently and then struck with unerring, some would say brutal, precision as Brazil’s back four looked clueless, petrified and out of their depth. After his teammates peppered seven goals past the hapless Julio Cesar, no one could blame the otherwise impeccable Manuel Neuer for allowing Oscar to shoot a (barely) consoling goal for the bewildered former champions in the dying minutes of the game.
It is not often that the two of the three most successful teams at the global stage meet head to head in a match of such significance so this semifinal was eagerly awaited around the world. However, when the referee finally blew the whistle, the 7-1 scoreline looked preposterous. But to understand just how extraordinary this match was, we have put together 16 almost unbelievable stats and facts to try and place this result in its proper historical context.
16. We have to go back 40 years to find a World Cup match where a team scored 5 goals in the first half. It was Poland who last achieved the feat against a lowly Haiti team. By then, none of the players who played that night in Belo Horizonte had been born.
15. After scoring the first goal, Thomas Muller became the 13th player to ever score 10 goals at the World Cup.
14. Muller is also one of only two players to score five goals at two consecutive World Cups. The other one is fellow teammate Miroslav Klose.
13. Before that semifinal, Brazil and Germany had only ever played each other once at the World Cup. This was at the 2002 final in Yokohama Japan where a Ronaldo inspired Brazil won 2-0 to become world champions for a record fifth time.
12. Miroslav Klose is now the only footballer to have ever played in 4 World Cup semifinals. To prove his selection was not made for sentimental purposes, the evergreen striker scored an excellent goal to take his tally to 2 in this year’s tournament.
11. Before the semifinal, Brazil was the highest scoring team ever at the World Cup with 220 goals. It took barely 26 minutes for Germany to equal the feat and then exceed it to become the most prolific team in terms of goals scored in the history of the World Cup.
10. Never before had a World Cup semifinal match witnessed more than seven goals.
9. You have to go back to 1958 to see the last time a team scored 5 goals or more at the semifinal stage of the World Cup. Brazil was the record holder owing to their 5-2 win over France at the Sweden 1958 finals.